Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Moving on

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  • Rich Lock, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    I have lots of interesting conversations about television (Breaking Bad, anyone?)

    Interesting that you mention ‘Breaking Bad’ as an example of television, because here in the UK……it isn’t (TV, that is). Breaking Bad works as a good example of the shift in broadcast plate tectonics. When it was on ‘mainstream’ UK TV, it was kicked around the schedules on different channels for the first three series and usually given a graveyard slot. From season 4 onwards, Netflix had exclusive rights. There has been a recent spike in Netflix membership which has been attributed to Breaking Bad season 5. We get episodes avaiable on Netflix a day after broadcast in the US.

    Breaking Bad is one example of several dozen purely online shows available through the two main outlets – Lovefilm or Netflix: The Vikings, Copper, Breaking Bad. All exclusively online. Hemlock Grove is a netflix original – funded by and produced exclusively for netflix, bypassing broadcast tv entirely. High production values, high budgets, as good as and mostly better than, anything ‘made for TV’.

    I used to watch most of my ‘TV’ in NZ via rented DVD box sets. You would struggle to find a DVD rental place in the UK now – the last Blockbuster Video in this city closed down a couple of months after we arrived.

    Anyway, ‘Breaking Bad’! ‘Ozymandias’ – bloody hell…..needed a drink after that……down to the last two episodes, now.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Danielle,

    I don’t know if it’s peculiar to us, but it’s awfully tiresome.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/area-man-constantly-mentioning-he-doesnt-own-a-tel,429/

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Ross Mason,

    beauty of sunrise on our backs in the east facing cowsheds

    That sounds like it might be a 4 bail walkthrough constructed of timber and corrugated iron, with a separator and and a cream cart.

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 776 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    sieved, screened, strained & riddled?

    nothing is real
    unless it’s filtered
    through the media.

    …and nothing to get hung about.
    Reality is easy with eyes closed…*

    Reality mediated by devices!
    (aka meter$)
    The only way forward!
    (Don’t look back!)
    The Goopple Incorporation, 2020

    *

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7881 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Farmer Green,

    The udder's way...?

    ...a 4 bail walkthrough constructed of timber and corrugated iron, with a separator and and a cream cart.

    this 4 bail walkthrough isn't some
    kind of Black Caps game then?
    ...he said all low and baleful, like...
    then he jumped down,
    and turned around...

    and gotta cotton pickin' bale

    and the proper Other's Way,
    turn it up!

    </pedant patrol>
    :- )

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7881 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A key problem, I think, was that every viewer we lured over to the public broadcasting content was a viewer lost to the commercial channels.

    I was disappointed with the way that TVNZ6 and TVNZ7 were both killed, based upon claims about viewership, before digital TV was a requirement for all televisions in a household. I guess we'll never know how many people, who are only now being forced to go fully digital, would begin watching 6 and 7 frequently if they were still available.

    It was always going to be a political decision, but I couldn't help but feel that 6 and 7 never had a fair opportunity to prove that their alternative content was worthwhile and popular on the same scale as commercial TV, for at least as long as there was no guarantee that anyone with any TV in front of them could flip to them or record them as fluidly as other content. Having just a single decoder in the house also doesn't fully count, especially if it's stuck on a main-room TV that gets monopolised by a person wanting to watch something else.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The advantage of turning TVNZ back into a public service broadcaster is that TVOne and 2 already have an audience. Building audiences takes a long, long time and TVOne is still to some degree the natural audience for public service tv. TVNZ 7 was closed because of the lack of audience which turned out to be miscalculated. That TVNZ incorrectly reported to the Minister a crucial 'appreciation' figure didn't help. Ooops don't get me started, but the TVNZ 7 experience shows how hard and expensive and vulnerable a new channel is.

    Making part of TVNZ non-commercial (TVOne or a new digital channel) would be a culture clash but that could be resolved with changes to the Board and Senior Management. Clear away some of the marketers running the show down there and bring producers back to decision making roles. The staff at TVNZ as you note, are mostly keen as mustard to make public service telly. The inevitable tension between commercial and non-commercial imperatives just needs close management by bosses who are clear that their new mandate is to serve the audience first and foremost.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Myles Thomas,

    Building audiences takes a long, long time and TVOne is still to some degree the natural audience for public service tv.

    Is this as true in the digital TV age as it used to be, now that electronic guides are immediately available on the TV (or decoder box) and it's easy to switch between them? I can't actually remember the last time I set the channel on a TV without flipping across the electronic programme guide. It was probably in a motel somewhere without anything digital.

    I'm mostly going on Aussie experience as I haven't had a chance to get re-acquainted in NZ since returning, plus I only have my own introspective experience to go on meaning it's hardly valid. But anecdotally I find that I often barely know which channel I'm watching, between identifying a programme and switching to it, or otherwise flagging it to record for later viewing. The PVR doesn't even remember which channel it nabbed something on, when I look it up later, although it records the time. I'd have thought that TV1's biggest advantage besides its actual programmes, in this day and age, might that it's often ordered at the top of the list much more than any historic reputation.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas, in reply to izogi,

    I reckon the answer to your question is in the ratings for One,2, 3 and Prime. TV3 is consistently a better channel than One or 2 yet after 30 years still struggles to beat TVNZ in the ratings. Prime has amazing foreign series like Doctor Who and Downtown Abbey which would be massive on One but barely rate on Prime. And dear old TVNZ 7 took 5 years to build enough critical mass to enter the public consciousness.

    Yes PVRs and On Demand are changing things and for us online dwellers it's particularly significant. But we sometimes forget there's a vast percentage of NZ who don't timeshift their telly. There's something very relaxing about sitting on the couch and flicking on the telly to whatever's on (one of the great pleasures of TVNZ7) and lots of people still do that.

    Then there's the digital divide. I heard at last year's NetHui 20% of NZers still don't have access to broadband (maybe someone can confirm this?). These people are not represented in the media argument as far as I can tell. Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss has openly confessed to watching everything via his AppleTV and I think there's a danger that we construct media policy based on our own technological preference without looking at the whole picture.

    As for being number 1, absolutely. Being at the top of the list helps a lot (as it did for the Liberal Democrats in Aussie). And SKY TVs channels are always trying to get lower channel numbers because it increases their viewers.

    Any new public service channel needs as much of a helping hand as it can get. Hitting the ground running with an established audience on TVOne would pretty much ensure it's survival. The obvious problem with taking the ads off TVOne is the loss of revenue.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Attachment Attachment

    Just for interest’s sake, here’s a slightly crappy photo of what we had been using in place of a full-scale control room for the Media3 recordings, and a close-up of the tiny board that contains all the logic.

    And some notes I sent to Dan Slevin at OnFilm:

    We record in the ballroom of the Villa Dalmacija in New North Road, which is owned by the Dalmatian Cultural Society, about 100 metres from TV3 itself.

    It’s a big space. We have a room to store the set, which is built up and taken down every Tuesday – it’s quite a lot of work. Our backdrops are plain white sheets.

    It was a bit of a shift for me to go from comms to visual time-cues from our floor manager, but Im used to it now.

    We get 30-50 people watching the recordings each week, many of them regulars who’ve been following us since the Media7 days. Part of the idea of having an audience is that it allows people to mingle before and after – quite a few journalists come along just to meet other journalists. We subsidise the bar and pay for the Dalmatian ladies to put on some lovely food before the recordings.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It was an unusual but efficient venue.

    Any thoughts re my question about regular contributions to PAS? You were planning some way of doing this.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2537 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    So are Internet-capable TVs the solution?

    Definitely part of the answer. As I reply to this I am watching some clips off Youtube on my TV. I downloaded them but with Apple TV or an internet connected tv that will happen more often.

    I can make video on my mac with s/w that costs just over $100 now. Yes it is better with higher quality cameras & other gear but the webcam is pretty good for online use.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 363 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Any thoughts re my question about regular contributions to PAS? You were planning some way of doing this.

    I gave a speech this week at the Australia New Zealand Internet Awards which culminated in a pitch for my idea for a shared voluntary subscriptions platform for NZ blogs and independent websites. And I think it made an impression. I'm going to be talking to some people.

    But that will take a while to flow through. Meantime, I'm going to have another whip-round next week. This time, the idea is that I'll use some of my newfound free time to report some stories and events via the blog.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It is indeed amazing what can be made with a relatively small budget. Much better to pay for talent but clearly production tech has got to a point where the barrier to entry is not so great.

    I may have missed it but what does a frequency on freeview cost? I can't believe some of what is there but surely there are enough people to put a group together?

    OTOH a feed off SBS would be good too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 363 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jason Kemp,

    Definitely part of the answer. As I reply to this I am watching some clips off Youtube on my TV. I downloaded them but with Apple TV or an internet connected tv that will happen more often.

    One of the problems is the way the TV companies compete. They all offer apps based on a common middleware platform, but they all want exclusives for as long as possible, as a showroom selling-point. It’s a terrible way to grow an ecosystem. At the same time, Apple's apparent reluctance to provide a store for Apple TV apps is ... weird.

    What you can expect to see in the next six months is on-demand IPTV presented as a channel on Freeview -- although it won't actually be delivered via the DTT broadcast. I think there's real potential there, but it's a bit bizarre if all the innovation on Freeview isn't actually in any Freeview broadcast.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22743 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Thanks Russell,

    Part of that is business model & partly not understanding that a network expands & amplifies – not based on scarcity anymore.

    And all of these people have been going to conferences about convergence since about ’93. I’m mashing up all kinds of educational content using video ( served off ETV) and various s/w learning systems including electronic textbook content.

    Its not just broadcasters who have to deal with convergence – its all universities as well…

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 363 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    And you have to think when more of us have unlimited cap UFB connections TV will be more internet driven than by broadcasters.

    I’ve always thought Sky programmers get their clips from the $5 bin and I can programme my own channels so that is what I do.

    One of my brothers ( in Cairns – not exactly the centre of the universe) has an uncapped Telstra connection and 99% of his TV viewing is online & has been for about 4 years now.

    here is a link that I spotted on some of the implications
    Why TV everywhere will kill what’s best about TV

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 363 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp, in reply to Russell Brown,

    What you can expect to see in the next six months is on-demand IPTV presented as a channel on Freeview – although it won’t actually be delivered via the DTT broadcast.

    Because I don't have UFB access at home yet I'd like my freeview to get past the data cap scenario and so a digital channel would be better

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 363 posts Report Reply

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